Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Frances Sumida Palk Interview
Narrator: Frances Sumida Palk
Interviewer: Todd Mayberry
Location: Portland, Oregon
Date: June 13, 2014
Densho ID: denshovh-pfrances-01-0001

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TM: Today's date is Friday, June 13, 2014. We're conducting this interview at the Oregon Buddhist Church in Portland, Oregon. This interview is being conducted by the Oregon Nikkei Endowment as part of the Minidoka Oral History Project. There are two observers present in the room, Janet Kakishita and Cameron Boyd. Our camera operator is Ian McCluskey from Northwest Documentary, I'm the interviewer, Todd Mayberry, and today we're interviewing Frances Sumida Palk. Okay, Fran, we're going to actually start with your father's side of the family. Can you tell me what your grandparents' names were on that side?

FP: Sumida was my grandpa's name, the one that came over from Japan.

TM: And what was his full name?

FP: Yukio Sumida. And Grandmother, who was married to Yukio, her name was Mizuhata. Oh, and her name was Tsuneta, right, from Mizuhata. So I will be mentioning Mizuhata as we go along, because it was a dear aunt. Not a dear aunt, a dear uncle.

TM: And what's the date of births for both of your grandparents on your father's side?

FP: Let's see. Grandmother's is on the grave, and it's 1988, and I think Grandpa's was about '87.

TM: 1888 and 1887?

FP: Right, not 19.

TM: And how about the places of birth for both of them?

FP: Okayama-ken. And they were farmers, so it would be up in the mountains and in the rural areas around Okayama.

TM: For your grandfather, what was his rank and age?

FP: What was his age?

TM: Was he the oldest brother or the middle one, or...

FP: He was definitely not the eldest brother, because the eldest brother would have stayed at home. It was the younger brothers who needed property that came to the U.S. And so he came, and within a short period, there were three brothers, so they might have come off the same ship. (...) One went, one was adopted by his wife's side, his name was Mita, and he moved over to Chicago, okay. And then the other (two) were named Sumida.

TM: What did your grandfather's family, you said they were farmers in Japan?

FP: Yes.

TM: And so your grandfather and his brothers came to America roughly around...

FP: In the early 1900s, around circa 1905 through about 1908.

TM: And do you know where they arrived?

FP: In Portland. Oh, they may have landed in Seattle. I don't know exactly, but I have read that some immigrants came in through Seattle, and some immigrants came in through California. And maybe it was, if our seaport was large and deep enough at the time, they might have come directly here. I never did find that out.

TM: And for your grandfather and your grandmother, when did they marry?

FP: In the old country, and Grandma was very young when she had Dad. She was, they had Dad in 1910, so let's say that she came over mid, early 1900s, okay, and then we were calculating the other day it would be about sixteen or seventeen when she had my father, you know. So it was, they were married in the old country, that's all I know.

TM: Okay, so your grandparents came together to America as a married couple.

FP: Yes, they did, yes.

TM: Okay.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2014 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.